IRON REAGAN / SACRED REICH / LEEWAY / ENFORCED / MISFIRE
Date: 15th May, 2019
Venue: Reggies Rock Club
Ticket: $20/€18 (in advance) - $23/€20 (day of)
For a bunch of reasons, it had been too long since the last time I'd seen SACRED REICH onstage and this meant to take every given opportunity that would come up. In this set-up, SACRED REICH were co-headlining a short US tour with the Hardcore guys from IRON REAGAN who are a solid guarantee to push the energy on the red zone from the first until the last song of the set. The only downside was the early start and therefore I was not able to get on time to see the billing from the start - or at least, catch the entire LEEWAY setlist that, judging by how active the audience was, seemed to be on a high gear. It makes me happy seeing younger faces having such fun with a Hardcore band because I am sure there are lot of people out there who have forgotten this scene or may have not heard of it, especially if they belong to the younger generation. Seeing all this craziness and how many metalheads were inside Reggie's, I realized that it would turn out to be an energy-pumped show exactly the way it should be.
After finding the right spot in front of the stage, I realized how excited I was to reset the timer of how much time had passed since the last SACRED REICH show. The constantly smiling bassist and singer Phil Rind showed up right on time and let us know that it was the same day 29 years ago when “The American Way” album was released. And that was the perfect cue to kick off the setlist with the title track of the same album. Oh yeah, the audience reacted appropriately and this means singing-along (with fists pumping in the air) and occasionally moshing. That was a great start and exactly how this band deserves to be treated, especially with a follow-up like “Death Squad”. “Thank you, You are killing it tonight”, said Phil and then thanked the rest of the bands on the billing. But there was not a lot of time for talking and quite a few tunes to be played, so “One Nation” and Love...Hate” gave us more reasons to keep Metal festivities going strong.
“Why are you heavy?”, one fan asked Phil and without thinking much and with a boatload of sarcasm he responded: “I just eat so much”. That's the right mood to keep thrasin', right? After introducing the band and joking a bit about Joey Radziwill's young age and the fact that he “was not even born when “The American Way” was released”, Phil mentioned how the band was broke back then, even though the album sales should be pointing at a different direction. Phil was indeed the one who talked much but it was such a delight seeing him in that good mood. The groovy and kinda of melodic “Free” was next and damn, it sounded great. The band and the audience were picking up the energy once more and the snare-drum-driven “Ignorance” was the perfect excuse to do so. “Are you still with us?”, asked Phil pointing at the still-going mosh-pit and therefore no verbal answer was needed, especially with “Independent” on the pipeline.
There was no doubt that there was a thirst to see SACRED REICH with people requesting songs and - of course - “31 Flavors” was also on the requests-list. “Every time there is someone asking for that song, but we haven't played it since 1991” was Phil's response and in place of that having-fun-song, he introduced the title track of the upcoming SACRED REICH album that is planned to see the light of the day at the end of August. “Awakening” was a groovy and fast song and therefore was not strange when compared to what the band had released in the '90s. However, this was just one listen in a loud and sweaty environment but no matter what, it got me excited. “We have one more song”, the band's frontman / bassist said and made the set looked extremely short. The proper send-off was “Surf Nicaragua” getting everyone to sing-along and dance-along the Metal way. I hope that once “Awakening” gets out, we will get another and longer SACRED REICH set.
SACRED REICH setlist:
01. “The American Way”
02. “Death Squad”
03. “One Nation”
07. “State Of Emergency”
08. “Crimes Against Humanity”
09. “Who's To Blame”
12. “Surf Nicaragua”
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It quickly became obvious to me that IRON REAGAN have a strong and kind of young following as the front lines were getting occupied by younger faces. Considering that the Virginian band roams on Crossover / Hardcore territories, seeing such demographics made me smile because there have been talks that this is a dying scene for more years than I care to remember. Yeah, everyone who believes this, can eat his words because for the next 50 minutes or so, IRON REAGAN proved otherwise.
Without waiting much, everything was ready to host more sweat, some spilled beer and lots of energy with the five-piece lineup that had been challenged to match SACRED REICH's energy. A short intro brought the band onstage and the Hardcore groove of “Eat Shit And Live” gave me a less than a minute's taste of how things would go down. Yes, the mosh-pit was a bit more violent than before and having these short songs helped to get everyone going. That's right; the setlist became a Hardcore blur and there were moments when one song bled into the other but really it did not matter. IRON REAGAN were in the Hardcore zone and in times Reggie's felt like a time-machine that had just taken us back to the '90s. The mosh-pit had been extended and basically was occupying the entire space in front of the stage and it did not take much time to see some crowd-surfing and stage-diving happening. Everything was done with the appropriate care and to my knowledge no one got hurt and I will tip my hat to the audience and the venue's security.
The setlist-opening triplet was concluded with “Insanity Plea(se)?” and “Bleed The Fifth” with sweaty faces on and off stage. Singer Tony Foresta was the band's driving force and he made sure that everyone inside the venue was part of the action. The rest of the band followed his lead to the point that the Reggie's stage looked tiny and unable to contain the energy that was also feeding from the Crossover songs. Oh my, it feels so nice using the terms Crossover and Hardcore on the same sentence because it had been a while for me. In fact, I think the last time I did that was for a SUICIDAL TENDENCIES show...
It is kind of hard to keep track with the songs IRON REAGAN played, although I am almost sure they did half of the “Spoiled Identity” EP but when considering the song's duration this equals to something around two minutes... It is impossible to enjoy this stuff from the comfort of your couch because the music gets alive from the stage with the audience's participation being a crucial part of the whole experience. In this case, everything had been optimized for maximum fun and if you'd twist my arm I would choose “I Ripped That Testament A New Asshole” and “Fuck The Neighbors” (love the lyrics on this one) as two of the most enjoyable stops in this non-stop Crossover beating. I am also not 100% sure about the second cover IRON REAGAN did and it may have been on a GORILLA BISCUITS song. The other one was definitely on CANNIBAL CORPSE's “A Skull Full Of Maggots” that was gladly welcomed with an insane mosh-pit.
Earlier in the set, Tony said something about posers – it was not something family-friendly – but he revised his statement by saying something that represents the Metal as well as the Hardcore scene; “if you are here and you are enjoying it, then you are welcomed”. That's absolutely right and unfortunately there are instances when people forget that the Metal scene was / is the place for everyone who does not feel that society is the perfect fit for him. This scene does not see colors, races or whatever is being used to split people into groups and then are willing to fight over something that most of the times does not make sense. Anyways, I (still) hope that this music and scene make a safe haven for those who just don't feel comfortable following the norms of the so-called normal society that in some cases considers us being another “Miserable Failure” which - by the way - was the next song on the set. The short song with the most effective title “Your Kid's An Asshole” kept everyone in the moshing zone, convincing me for good that IRON REAGAN definitely matched SACRED REICH's energy, and in the end managed to rekindle my interest on the live scene of Crossover / Hardcore. Amazing show from the bands and the audience. Keep Crossover alive!
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